An Open Letter to IT: We Need To Own Our Tech Decisions

At my breakout session at AAISP a few weeks ago, I asked the audience to raise their hands if they used some sort of conferencing tool. A ton of hands went up. Then, I asked those people if they themselves had picked that tool. Most of the hands went down.

This illustrates a critical problem in sales organizations today.

As a sales leader, you need to take ownership of the technology you use day to day. After all, so much of sales is relationship-building: the better the conferencing tool is, the higher level of engagement you have with prospects, and the more likely they’ll listen to what you have to say and be on the same page.

Did you know that 48% percent of smart phones used today are chosen without regard to IT support? (Forrester) And that the number of devices IT will be supporting in 2012 has grown 66% year over year? (IDC) These trends should indicate the direction that smart companies should go today.

In this letter from Sales to IT,  I’ll explain the competitive advantages (and revenue) waiting to be captured if sales leaders selected their own tools. I’ll discuss key benefits of using video conferencing and turning on webcams for both departments that drive growth and organization-wide revenue performance.

Dear IT,

Sales management here.

We know that the responsibility of choosing a conference tool just kind of fell into your laps. But the fact of the matter is, people on sales teams are on the front line. We’re customer facing. And depending on which tool you guys choose, a meeting can be a very easy, engaging process… or it can require a computer science degree.

I’m here to say that today’s sales leaders need to take ownership of this decision from here on out. Because at the end of the day, your IT department doesn’t have a quota to hit – we do.

We need a tool that’s easy for everyone to use. I get it. Your top of mind focus isn’t: Is this conferencing tool gonna work for prospects or clients? That’s not in your job description. But it is our job as sales leaders to make sure the tool is simple enough for clients to use and that we are coming across in a presentable way.

Ease of use and professionalism of a conferencing tool is directly tied to quota, and needs to be an extension of our customer facing outside sales force.

We need a tool that combines verbal, audio, nonverbal cues. With all three, sales reps are able to engage in a much higher fashion, almost as if you are face to face. That’s a big reason why inside sales positions have taken off – we now have the ability to engage at a much better level.

Organizations that embrace video conferencing technology build better relationships with their clients and prospects regardless of geographic distance. And according to Frost and Sullivan, desktop video is currently growing at a CAGR of 17% and not expected to slow down.

We need a tool that is mobile and in the cloud. As well all know, in today’s world, our customers and prospects demand and expect service immediately. Wherever they are, they want it now. That’s just the way tech is today. We can no longer rely on emails or cold calls.

When it comes to engage and buy, the clock’s ticking. Whatever your strategy is, make sure it’s mobile, so that by the time they’re ready to engage, you’re ready to engage.

We need a tool that will ultimately bring in revenue. It’s so much easier for a prospect to turn us down via email or the phone. But if they look at us in the eyes, it’s much harder.

With the right conferencing tool, sales reps can show prospects that we’re enthusiastic about their needs, and they can envision having a long lasting relationship with our company. If I don’t have the technology to show that level of commitment and enthusiasm, then I lose that prospect. And that has a negative impact on revenue.

Listen, IT. The bottom line is, we’re only as good as the communication tool that is given to us. And if that tool is lousy, we’re gonna lose money, and none of us will be around.


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